May 9, 2020 / 5:00 PM / 24 days ago

Esports-Wehrlein ends Guenther's run of virtual Formula E success

LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) - Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein took a lights-to-flag victory in the third round of Formula E’s ‘Race at Home Challenge’ on Saturday to end BMW i Andretti driver Maximilian Guenther’s run of success in the esports series.

Starting from pole on a virtual Monaco layout, the German beat Mercedes’ Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne — pole sitter in the previous two races — by 3.63 seconds with compatriot Guenther third.

“The start was very important... after that I had a small gap and I just kept the pace. For me, it was quite an easy race,” said Wehrlein.

Guenther, winner of the two previous races as well as a Monaco test event, had started sixth but swept up to third on the opening lap thanks to others tangling in a first corner pile-up.

The German now leads Wehrlein, who set the fastest lap of the race, in the standings by 21 points.

The esports series is filling the gap left by the all-electric Formula E season being suspended due to COVID-19, with the regular race drivers competing on simulators from their homes around the world.

“I got lucky to actually make it through the first corner,” said Vandoorne, an ex-Formula One driver like Wehrlein.

“Then Pascal was already one and a half seconds ahead of me by lap one because of all of that.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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